Doesn’t Curious George look content gazing through Eoin’s Rose Cottage bedroom window? He should be feeling content, after all he’s enjoying a lovely view! By the angle of his head, I’m guessing that he may be focused on the rustic sight of the outbuilding at the front of the property… perhaps making a game of guessing what we might find inside that little building, after the big brush clean up. If George was able to turn his head to the right, he would have the pleasure of looking out toward the wooden fence that separates the property from the road. Beyond that, is a vast expanse of countryside consisting of bog and farmland, that spreads out at a slight incline. Toward the right on a small hill, a house is visible, its lights already having served as a comfort to us, on pitch black Lisheen nights. Beyond that house at quite a distance is another hill. One morning my very excited 7-year-old came running to tell us about a herd of animals he spotted grazing on that hill. The distance and our untrained eyes kept us from being able to figure out whether the creatures were cattle or sheep. But not to worry… because the previous owner not only foresaw our need for a tea kettle, he provided us with a handy pair of binoculars… much to my son’s delight! Binoculars in hand Eoin determined the creatures to be cattle. This sight of grazing dots with legs became a daily fixture in the landscape… just as the binoculars were a constant presence hanging by a strap around my son’s little neck throughout our stay.

As much as the cottage was a physical manifestation of my idea of what a cottage in West Clare should be, it was the surrounding countryside and views from the house that sold me on this particular place. As I’ve described the view from the front of the cottage, the view from the back is equally lovely. Since the cottage is on high ground, from the back windows we look out on a decline across a great expanse of land leading down to where the main road lies and beyond… and if we look a bit toward the left, a two room school house is visible just a couple miles from our little cottage. And though we can’t see it from where we are situated, it is an added bonus just knowing that the rocky, Atlantic coastline is just a few miles away in the distance!

An element of the landscape we had not anticipated though, is the sky. The open, and for the most part, treeless expanse of land, combined with the vibrant and ever changing Irish sky, which seems closer to the ground than the Midwestern American sky, is a sight I’m not sure I can describe here. I know the photographs we took of spectacular sky performances, came back a disappointment. Like trying to capture fireworks with a camera, it’s just not possible to come even close to the beauty or the energy of the actual experience. All I can say, is that to witness a storm rapidly approaching from the distance is an awesome sight to behold and after the storm passes and the sky is still grey to one side with the dazzling Irish sun approaching from the other, you can almost count on the grand finale of a rainbow.

My young son is a boy obsessed with weather to the point of taking real pleasure in watching the weather channel. So this bedroom window of his, coupled with the binoculars that came with the cottage, seems to be pointing him in a particular direction in life. Either that of an artist or a weatherman!